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Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM: Progress in Asia

Press release by WADI / Stop FGM Middle East & Asia

February 6th 2017. On the seventh official International Day of Zero Tolerance to female genital mutilation (FGM), it has been 13 years, that WADI first brought the issue FGM happening in Asia, in this case Iraq, to the international agenda. In this last decade WADI’s campaign against FGM in Iraq has yielded great success as a recent study by the Heartland Alliance in cooperation with Unicef and the High Council of Women Affairs shows. The rates of FGM in Northern Iraq have decreased dramatically when comparing mothers and daughters. Among mothers surveyed 44,8% reported to be cut compared to 10,7% of their daughters. The success of a comprehensive campaign becomes even more evident when looking at the figures of regions where WADI’s campaign started and has been going on since more than ten years: In the region of Halabja only 1.1% of daughters are cut today in comparison to 40% of mothers. (more…)

Day of Zero Tolerance: Campaign in Kurdistan in danger

Stop FGM Middle East Press Release, Suleymaniah and Berlin, February 6th 2016

After a most successful year campaigning against female genital mutilation (FGM) in Iraqi Kurdistan and many countries in the Middle East and Asia, WADI has to announce that large parts of the campaign will not continue. (more…)

Beyond the Hijab: Let’s Talk About “Sunat Perempuan”

2.2.2016. On the occasion of International Day of Zero Tolerance towards FGM, women activists in Singapore have started a series on “sunat perempuan” on their blog “Beyond the Hijab”.  This is the first entry which also talks about the workshop and regional meeting WADI and AWARE orgnized together in Singapore. (more…)

Wadi and Aware organize first ever conference on Female Genital Mutilation/ Cutting in Singapore

9.1.2016. By Hannah Wettig. Women from Malaysia, Thailand, India and Singapore joined on Thursday in Singapore to present their perspectives on FGM/C in their countries and discuss ways to eliminate the practice. It is the first time that such a meeting took place in Singapore and even in South East Asia as a whole, assumes Vivienne Wee, a founding member of the Singaporean women’s organization Aware. The Singaporean feminist organization organized the conference together with WADI as part of WADI’s Stop FGM in the Middle East & Asia campaign. (more…)

Revisiting Reza Aslan’s response to Bill Maher about female genital mutilation

21.10.2014. After Reza Aslan called FGM an African Problem, Stop FGM Middle East contacted PunditFact to set things straight. Here is their clarification:

“Hannah Wettig, who manages the Stop FGM Middle East campaign for Germany-based nonprofit WADI and Hivos, pushes back on the notion of FGM as an “African problem” and criticized UNICEF’s reliance on national survey data. For one, she said, Middle Eastern women may be more reluctant to admit they have been through the procedure, as it’s more secretive than the public rite of passage in some African countries. In addition to Iraq and Yemen, Wettig said it happens in Asian countries that include Oman, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Maldives and the Philippines.”

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Far East clinics offer genital mutilation to UK girls BBC News

16.2.2014. A British reporter calls up clinics in Singapore asking if she can have her daughter mutilated there. Yes, she can, for 35$. Another reason why our struggle in Asia is so important: Parents may perceive the “service” in Singapore as clean and professional and not understand that this is ruining their daughters life just as well.

“A Tiny Cut”: Female Circumcision in South East Asia

The Islamic Monthly, 12.3.2013

I am a Muslim of Malay ethnicity, who was born in Singapore, where Malays are an ethnic and religious minority today, and lived there until I was 24 years old. The Malays, of whom 99 percent are Muslim, are the indigenous people of Singapore and the Malay archipelago. Until the arrival of the British colonizers in the early nineteenth century, this area (which covers what is south Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and south  Philippines today) shared many cultural and linguistic similarities.

When I was about six years old and attending a kenduri, or ritual feast, for two male cousins who had just been circumcised, I whispered to my mother, “Are girls circumcised too?” Growing up in Singapore in the 1990s, boys were commonly circumcised before puberty (around eight or nine) – making it seem like a rite of passage into adulthood. The six year-old me observed the fuss and attention they got: they were not allowed to eat certain foods, they could only bear to wear a kain sarong for up to two weeks due to the pain, and had to be fanned at night to keep the wounds dry. These ritual feasts to celebrate a boy’s circumcision are less common today, partly due to the increasing use of doctors to carry out circumcision, and usually on infants a few weeks old.

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